Days after two tourists drowned in separate incidents while clicking selfies in the Arabian Sea in the coastal state of Goa, the state government has raised alarms by identifying ‘no selfie’ zones at 24 unsafe locations including prominent tourists spots at the start of the offseason. According to a report in The Indian Express, the stern warning against clicking selfies was issued by Drishti Marine – the state-appointed lifeguard agency at 40 prominent beaches along 106 km coastline of Goa.
Offseason in the tourist state usually starts from mid-May and remains in force till October. During this period, most businesses along the beachside remain closed. Also, an annual ban stands imposed on water dips in the tourist state.
The new flags and fresh warnings on Friday went up at the following tourist spots: Baga River, Dona Paula Jetty, Sinquerim Fort, Anjuna, Vagator, Morjim, Ashwem, Arambol, Kerim in the North and Agonda, Bogmalo, Hollant, Baina, Japanese Garden, Betul, Canaguinim, Palolem, Khola, Cabo De Rama, Polem, Galgibagh, Talpona, Rajbagh in the South.
The report said that stark warning sign and red flags have been planted at all 24 hotspots that have gained media attention following recent tourist deaths. The development comes after a video of one of them went viral on June 17.
The video in the question shows a girl and two boys from Tamil Nadu sitting on rocks below the seventeenth-century Fort Aguada in North Goa and waiting for sunrise to click pictures. As they were clicking photographs on their phones, one of them got swept away in the strong sea waves and drowned.
“Their friend shooting the video was sitting right below another old sign that read danger,” Ravi Shanker, CEO of Drishti Marine, said. “The need for red alerts now is urgent,” he added.
“The indifference to the law has started to cost heavy. It also has to do with a poor understanding of water and lack of awareness of a healthy beach culture.”
In another related incident, a group of eight tourists from Karnataka and Tamil Nadu visited the Baga beach in North Goa district last Saturday. Few of them went to a rocky stretch in the waters. As they were clicking selfies, a strong sea wave hit them. While two of them swim to safety, the third one drowned in the waters.
Following this tragic incident, the government has stepped up the vigil around the coastal line. According to government data, accidental death reports of four incidents have been reported since the beginning of the offseason on May 31.
The IE report said that of the 1,653 rescues in the last five years, 1,285 were Indians and 368 foreigners. This year alone, 73 Indians have been rescued where there were ample warnings.
In the last decade, records show 3,372 rescues against 53 drowning cases, the daily reported.